2009 Dönnhoff: German Futures Campaign Begins...

Posted by CrushWine

The Crush 5th Annual
German "Futures" Campaign Begins Today...
2009 Dönnhoff

"The 2009ers at Weingut Dönnhoff are amongst the most beautiful wines to be found in all of Germany, and there are an embarrassment of riches to choose from in this coming vintage." - John Gilman, View from the Cellar

"An embarrassment of riches" - an apt phrase for Germany at the moment.

2009 is (another) glorious vintage in Germany... sorry. It's ripe, yet very clear, which for me makes a big difference. The fruit is super pure with really impressive concentrations, extract that coats the palate. The great estates found a ton of minerality as well as wicked-beautiful acidities, stern headmasters that whip everything into shape.

Although it's obviously much too early to know for sure, 2009 may very well be a great vintage on par with 2007. While I truly don't want to hype the vintage or blow it out of proportions, I also don't want to undersell it, to meagerly bow to the impressive statistics of the 2007ers.

Nature is just more complicated than our numbers can fathom.

I can definitely say I like the 2009ers better at this stage than I liked the 2007ers. They are more vibrant, more electric. (In general, acidities are a bit higher in 2009 as compared to 2007. The simple formula many winemakers present is the following: 2009 = 2007 + 2008. Which means, 2009 has some of the ripeness and volume of 2007 with some of the cut and rigor of 2008.)

In any event, my best guess is that the 2009 vintage will be welcomed with a bit less of the mania that accompanied the 2007ers. After all, it's embarrassing to have a vintage of the decade every other year.

So today we begin our 2009 German "Futures" campaign with one of the most legendary producers in Germany: The elder wiseman of the Nahe, Helmut Dönnhoff. There's very little we could say about Dönnhoff that everyone doesn't already know: These are simply some of the greatest wines in Germany at present. We've included John Gilman's comments, below.

That said, this is just the beginning - our German program has developed significantly and this year we will be presenting a number of bottlings you will only find here, from Willi Schaefer, A.J. Adam and many more... so stay tuned.

For the second year in a row, I spent a week traveling through Germany. I visited nearly 20 growers and tasted the collections of nearly 40 more at the Mainzer Weinbörse, from regions as diverse as Franken, the Pfalz and just about everywhere in between including of course the Mosel, Saar, Ruwer, Nahe and Rheinhessen. And for the 3rd year in a row I present my German Vintage report - the product of a lot of research, tasting, talking... in any event, humble reading until Schildknecht presents his definitive treatise.

In the Crush German vintage report you'll find nuggets of insight, extensive tasting notes as well as entertaining stories, answers to questions as riveting as: Why was I over an hour late to my appointment with Herr Dönnhoff? Note: I've just finished the Nahe section of the report - still in the works are the Mosel-Saar-Ruwer and the Rheinhessen. These will be coming online soon!

To order, email us at offers@crushwineco.com or call the store at (212) 980-9463. Myself, Joe, Ian, Chris and Mark are here to help if you have any questions, so please don't hesitate. Let the fun begin.

Stephen Bitterolf
Wine Director
Crush Wine & Spirits

Weingut Dönnhoff

Click here to read the Crush 2009 German Vintage Report. All 2009 Dönnhoffs arrive late summer / early fall - all orders are subject to confirmation.

My own picks are as follows: The Leistenberg Kabinett is extraordinary - might be better than the 2007. Though this is a "Spätlese vintage" and Dönnhoff is a master of this Prädikat (the Kirschheck and Hermannshöhle are superb), I was blown away by the Auslesen. While Auslese becomes more and more unfashionable with every passing year, the 2009 Hermannshöhle is simply extraordinary, much better I think than the 2007. Extraordinary. I'm sure the dry wines will be great - Herr Dönnhoff himself thinks the dries of 2009 are among the best he's made. That said, they were a bit coiled up and closed when I visited with him. Gilman loved them... doubtless they'll be great.

2009 Dönnhoff Dellchen Grosses Gewachs (Grand Cru Dry)
Preference given to balanced orders including all of the Grosses Gewachs!
John Gilman, View from the Cellar: "The first of the stunning lineup of Grosses Gewächs in the cellars this year shown by Herr Dönnhoff was the magical Dellchen. This wine displays utterly profound depth in its aromatic mélange of sweet grapefruit, oranges, wild yeasts, glorious slate tones, citrus oils, incipient notes of petrol and a distinctive, smoky topnote. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and utterly refined, as it simply dances across the palate. The wine is rock solid at the core, delivers snappy acids, laser-like focus and a huge, racy and impeccably balanced finish that goes on and on and on. A great wine."

2009 Dönnhoff "Felsentürmchen" GG (Grand Cru Dry)
Preference given to balanced orders including all of the Grosses Gewachs!
This is the note from Gilman for the Felsenberg GG - though I only tasted a "Felsentürmchen" at the estate. Ah the details of german winemaking! John Gilman, View from the Cellar: "The 2009 Felsenberg Grosses Gewächs is another absolutely stellar bottle of dry Riesling in the making. The stunning nose jumps from the glass in a blaze of lemon, orange, crystalline minerality, grapefruit zest, a touch of smoke and plenty of petrol. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied and just a touch more tightly-knit than the Dellchen, with a great core of fruit, brilliant focus and stunning length and grip on the rapier-like finish. A magical bottle in the making- can only imagine what the Türmchen Grosses Gewächs will be like!"

2009 Dönnhoff Hermannshöhle GG (Grand Cru Dry)
Preference given to balanced orders including all of the Grosses Gewachs!
John Gilman, View from the Cellar: "The 2009 Grosses Gewächs bottling from the Hermannshöhle is pure magic, and will compete with the 2007 as the finest dry wine yet produced by Herr Dönnhoff from this vineyard. In fact, it will be very interesting to chart the progress of these two vintages from the Hermannshöhle as the years go by, for both wines are absolutely brilliant. My gut instinct suggests that perhaps the 2009er will nose out the great 2007er, based on its even more elegant aromatic and flavor profile. In any event, the great nose offers up scents of pink grapefruit, lime, orange, plenty of wild yeasts, an intense base of slate, dried flowers and citrus peel. On the palate the wine is deep, full-bodied, long and racy, with perfect focus and balance, a great core of fruit, seamless, brisk acids and simply a blade of fruit and minerality on the long and stunning finish. A great wine that does not quite start out life with quite the same sizzle as the 2007 version, and yet, despite its slightly lower score, I suspect that this may ultimately be the longer-lived wine when all is said and done and may just edge out the 2007 twenty years down the road."

2009 Dönnhoff Krötenpfuhl Kabinett
John Gilman, View from the Cellar: "There will only be a Kabinett from the Krötenpfuhl vineyard this year, and it is a lovely, slightly broad-shouldered style of wine that anticipates the changes in the VDP regulations that will be incorporated in the next few years, as this wine is clearly well up into Spätlese must weight. The classy nose is a fine mélange of tangerine, apple, smoke, quartzite soil tones, a hint of citrus peel and a gentle topnote of wild yeasts. On the palate the wine is medium-full, deep and complex, with beautiful balance, a great core of fruit, ripe acids and excellent length and grip on the finish. Lovely wine."

2009 Dönnhoff Leistenberg Kabinett
John Gilman, View from the Cellar: "The 2009 Leistenberg Kabinett is again clearly Spätlese must weight, but it retains the essence of Kabinett in its dancing and racy acidity and real lightness of step on the palate. The bouquet is a beautiful blend of apple, grapefruit, violets, wild yeasts, white cherries and crystalline minerality. On the palate the wine is deep, medium-full and juicy, with beautiful transparency, bright acids and superb length and grip on the poised and classic finish. A beautiful bottle of Kabinett."

2009 Dönnhoff Kirschheck Spätlese
John Gilman, View from the Cellar: "The 2009 Kirschheck Spätlese is quite powerful for this vineyard, but without sacrificing any of the elegance and filigreed refinement that Kirschheck fans cherish. The bouquet is deep and utterly captivating, as it wafts from the glass in a beautiful blend of apples, white cherries, petrol, slate, bee pollen and a floral topnote redolent of violets. On the palate the wine is deep, medium-full and beautifully strung together, with a completely soil-driven personality, crisp, ripe acids and stunning length and grip on thepure and laser-like focus. A beautiful wine."

2009 Dönnhoff Hermannshöhle Spätlese
John Gilman, View from the Cellar: "Amongst the four brilliant Spätlesen that I tasted in 2009 from Helmut Dönnhoff, the Hermannshöhle is the pick of the litter this year. The wine offers up a brilliantly crystalline bouquet of sweet grapefruit, orange, a touch of wild yeasts, simply stunning minerality, citrus zest, dried flowers and just a brief glimpse of the petrol to come with bottle age. On the palate the wine is deep, medium-full and extremely long and dancing, with a great core, laser-like focus and magical length and grip on the seamless and utterly refined finish. A great, great wine."

2009 Dönnhoff Brücke Spätlese
John Gilman, View from the Cellar: "The 2009 Brücke Spätlese is also stunning, as it offers up a complex and scintillating nose of oranges, fresh apricot, a touch of honeycomb, complex notes of slate, lime zest, petrol and a topnote of citrus blossoms. On the palate the wine is medium-full, long, pure and utterly classic, with a rock solid core of fruit, perfect focus and balance and stunning cut and purity on the racy and very, very long finish. A brilliant bottle of Brücke Spätlese."

2009 Dönnhoff "Felsentürmchen" Spätlese
Gilman didn't have any notes for this wine and I'm afraid mine are not glowing. After the profound 2007, the 2009 when I tasted it in late April was a bit of a let down – still incredibly elegant but none of the raucous oh-my-god force of the 2007. I don't have any grand proclamation to make - perhaps the wine itself does not have the tension and thrust of the 2007; or perhaps it has more and was just showing poorly. Sorry - wine is complicated. I will eagerly revisit.

2009 Dönnhoff Hermannshöhle Auslese (375ml)
John Gilman, View from the Cellar: "The 2009 Hermannshöhle Goldkapsel Auslese is also superb and is a slight step up from the very refined Brücke Gold Kap. The bouquet is very, very refined this year, as it jumps from the glass in a slightly less botrytized blend than the Brücke of orange, lime, bee pollen, kaleidoscopic slate tones, sweet grapefruit zest and gentle topnotes of wild yeast. On the palate the wine is deep, medium-full and zesty, with a rock solid core of fruit, really stunning delineation, an utterly refined attack and stunning length and grip on the laser-like, transparent and pristine finish. Like drinking Riesling fresh from a mountain spring. A brilliant and utterly refined bottle of Auslese."

2009 Dönnhoff Brücke Auslese (375ml)
John Gilman, View from the Cellar: "The 2009 Brücke Gold Kap is a beautiful bottle of gently botrytized Auslese glazed to near perfection. The stunning nose jumps from the glass in a blend of yellow plums, tangerines, petrol, honeycomb, slate, white cherries and a zesty topnote of orange zest. On the palate the wine is deep, fullish, crisp and laser-like in its focus, with great mid-palate depth, flawless focus and balance and superb complexity on the long, snappy finish. A classic bottle of Auslese in the making."

All 2009 Dönnhoff will arrive late Summer / early Fall
Net / No Further Discounts